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Answers to Your Orthodontic Questions

If you are a parent you most likely have  orthodontic questions.  The biggest question:  Does my child need braces?  If the answer is yes, many more questions will follow.  

What age is best for orthodontic treatment?

Most orthodontic treatment occurs after all the baby teeth are lost at age 12-13.  In some cases treatment is needed earlier.  Many orthodontists recommend a yearly consultation starting at age 8.  There is usually no charge for this consultation.

It is never too late to for braces, it is nice to have treatment complete during the early-mid teens.

Are braces optional?

There are a few who don't need their teeth straightened.  It has been estimated that 45% need braces to fix functional problems but 75% would benefit from having their teeth straightened. 

orthodontic questions

Some orthodontic treatment is optional.  Having slightly crowded or misaligned teeth may be acceptable.   Your dentist will most likely recommend orthodontic treatment even for minor crowding. 


Perfectly aligned teeth not only improve a smile but increases the odds that your son or daughter's teeth staying cavity and gum disease free for a lifetime.  Straight teeth are easier to keep clean.  When biting forces are even, teeth don't wear down from over use.  

Straight teeth function properly without too much stress placed on any of your teeth.

Are braces covered by dental insurance?

Many dental plans have a $2000 lifetime orthodontic benefit.  Some plans may have a $1000 - $1500 maximum.

But, most orthodontic cases cost around $5000 meaning that your insurance benefit will be used up before you make your final payment.

  • Your orthodontist will bill your insurance provider directly and the  insurance provider will pay monthly as long as you are in treatment or until your benefits are used up.  
  • Keep in mind that the orthodontic benefit is a lifetime benefit and does not renew each year.  This is something to consider when planning your child's treatment.  
  • If two phases of treatment are needed it is likely that only one phase will be covered unless you have a different insurance plan when the second phase is needed. 

How will you pay for braces?

Fortunately (or unfortunately) orthodontic treatment takes time.  So you will have time to pay your portion of this treatment.

  • Typically financial arrangements are made after your insurance benefit is subtracted from the total.   The balance can be paid in monthly payments spread out over the estimated treatment time.  
  • Treatment time will be estimated and could be longer or shorter.  But the treatment cost should be the same regardless of the time it takes.  
  • If you finish your payments before treatment is complete there should be no additional charges under normal circumstances. 

Is there an age limit for braces?

orthodontc questions

There is no age limit and many adults are getting their teeth straightened for both cosmetic and functional reasons.

If your teeth and gums are in good health you may be a good candidate for orthodontic treatment.

But, insurance coverage for orthodontic treatment may apply only to children under a certain age.

Is invisalign better than traditional braces?

It depends on what you need.  Invisalign is not an option for everyone but is ideal for adults and older children.

What's the difference between invisalign and braces?

Traditional orthodontic treatment involves metal brackets and wires (aka braces.)

Invisalign orthodontic treatment involves removable clear plastic aligners.  Metal brackets or wires ar are not necessary.    

Either type of treatment is covered under most dental insurance plans who provide orthodontic coverage.

An orthodontist can help you decide what's best for your case and answer any additional orthodontic questions.

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